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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kissing cousins: En Avion and Vol de Nuit

En Avion by Caron

Luca Turin’s description of En Avion in his Le Guide, as a fragrance fit for Sam Spade’s fiancée intrigued me enormously. He also describes this perfume as Olympian and suitable for an Amazon. According to Caron, En Avion was created as a homage to the first women of the skies (Adrienne Bolland, Hélène Boucher and Maryse Bastié), the adventurous ones, the ones who braved the elements.

After sampling En Avion, I am not convinced about future Mrs. Spade and especially about a Greek goddess wearing this, but that is definitely what an Amazon might smell like. In fact, a woman wearing En Avion would be a great match for someone who wears Muscs Koublai Khan. That would be a union made in horse-riding barbarian steppe heaven.

The official list of notes (“Orange tree, rose, jasmine, carnation…Totally new balance of rich flowers on a dry, spicy, wooded base.”) does not mention any animalic notes, but they are there, to my nose. The same “circus smell” as in Koublai Khan hit me when I first tried En Avion. It is not as wild as in the former but it sure is there. Not entirely unpleasant, weirdly captivating, En Avion is one of the most unusual perfumes I have ever tried.

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

Vol Nuit is yet another aviation-related scent that I find to have animal accords. There must be some connection there, but it eludes me. Vol de Nuit was named after Antoine de saint Exupery’s novel, in which a pilot loses the control of his plane, while his newly wed wife is in the control tower, desperately waiting for any signs of life from his aircraft.

It feels almost wrong that Vol de Nuit, this incredibly romantic story of love, is animalic on my skin. Think En Avion's prettier gentler younger sister. Think Muscs Koublai Khan's very distant relative. Perhaps it is jasmine playing its cruel indole game with me again. I don't know. All I know, there is something a little dirty and sensual in this fragrance, but that sensuality is suppressed. Fearless En Avion left behind her classy upbringing and eloped with Koublai Khan, while Vol de Nuit stayed at home, met her pilot and we all know the rest of the story.

*The painting is An Amazon, by Franz von Stuck.

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Blogger Marina said...

Thank you N! I am so glad I brought back those memories for you. That is what I am looking for in perfume, to bring back memories, evoke images etc. When it is there, even if it is not entirely wearable for me, I will love the scent.

8:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yoohoo! I am an inspiration...:-D Thank you V! The times you've inspired me or started a new lemming are countless. *points* Enabler! :-)

12:24 PM EDT  
Blogger andy said...

Thank you for your -as always- fabulous review. Isn't it a pity that Guerlain hasn't ever made a Petit Prince Perfume? This story by Exupery is one of my favourite little stories. I love the pictures and it explains all about friendship and love. Wouldn't this be an excellent starting point for a perfume?
And finally: All interested in learning more this very special man, Saint Exupery: (I think it's a french-only site)

12:54 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Hi Andy and thank you!
There is a Petit Ptince perfume, but of course it is not Guerlain (I don't remember who manufactures it, sorry). I am sure that Guerlain would have created something poetic and soulful and touching...

12:58 PM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Hello there. I very much enjoy your posts -- especially when you link a perfume to a novel.
Just wanted to say that after reading about "En avion", I hopped on a bus and went to the Caron shop on the avenue Montaigne (yes, I'm that close!). Since I have a few Caron (Farnesiana, Poivre, French Cancan, Narcisse Noir, Nuit de Noël), I fully expected to adore En avion and Tabac blond. They're marvellous compositions but I find that the trademark powdery base pops up almost immediately and, well, it smells dated to me. Perhaps I'm now used to the more modern compositions of Serge Lutens and Ormonde Jayne. Plus the SA at that particular shop was less than helpful (I agree with Parislondres in her own blog). So, advice to Caron lovers : go to the Fg St Honoré shop when in Paris.

1:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Hello there! How wonderful, I wish I could just hop on a bus and find myself in a Caron boutique...alas, no such luck! :-)
Fortunately, En Avion is not really powdery on me. The only Caron scent that really didn't work for me was Infini. I am not a big fan of Narcisse Noir either. But most of them were immediately and urgently full bottle worthy for me, like Farnesiana, Parfum Sacre, Violette Precieuse...

2:17 PM EDT  
Blogger andy said...

Dear Colombina
thank you for your hint on petit prince perfume: I found it on the web.
(again in french)It is called la rose du petit prince....

2:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Wonderful! here is another one for you, this one is a citrus scent

2:23 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did a search for this to see what you made of it after I tested it recently at a dept store. Initial reaction was good - typical Guerlinade bottom to it but later the dry down - sheesh! Two words - old lady.

11:06 AM EDT  

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